Mastodon Trailhead — Chena River State Recreation Area
Coordinates: 64.899224, -146.390903
Game Management Unit: 20B
Land Manager: Department of Natural Resources (DNR); Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
The Chena River State Recreation Area (SRA) is a popular destination for hunters harvesting moose, black and grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, furbearers, and waterfowl. The Chena River provides a great place to fish, kayak, or canoe, while a variety of trails in the SRA are frequented by hikers, climbers, runners, and backpackers.
A relatively new non-motorized trail, Mastodon Trailhead is located at mile 38.5 of Chena Hot Spring Road outside of Fairbanks. Prior to the completion of this project, the Mastodon Trailhead was a small, primitive parking area that struggled to facilitate safe or sanitary conditions for users, but especially for hunters seeking a location for hunt staging.
The project objective was to develop and improve the Mastodon Trailhead parking lot. These improvements would increase the lot capacity, improve sanitary conditions, and provide relevant user information for recreation in the area.
The project was completed and open to the public in June 2019. The trailhead parking area was paved and expanded to accommodate up to either 12 vehicles or 6 trucks with horse trailers. A hitching post was also installed for equestrian users. Sanitary needs were met by installing a vaulted toilet and bear-proof garbage cans. A kiosk with orientation panels, trail maps, and informative signs provide users with background for the area.